Denver Broncos Free Agency 2011: What They Did Right and What They Did Wrong

Joe Rapolla Jr.Featured ColumnistAugust 4, 2011

Denver Broncos Free Agency 2011: What They Did Right and What They Did Wrong

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    Now that the mad week of free agency is over, it is certainly easy to evaluate who were the winners and losers. 

    The Denver Broncos are one of those teams who fall into a gray area. They acquired some great players who will surely help their team, but they seemed to flub in the trade that would have given them the most upside and peace of mind. 

    It's all said and done now, so let's evaluate how the Denver Broncos did. 

Good: Signing Willis McGahee

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    Although it seems like he has been around forever, Willis McGahee is only 29-years-old and arguably the healthiest he has been in years.

    Health has always been the biggest question in McGahee's career, ever since injuring his knee in college, but for the most part he has proven himself a fighter who can overcome injuries.

    McGahee's greatest attribute is his ability to the find the end zone. He knows what it takes to score.

    I think the Broncos could be very successful running a system with Knowshon Moreno and McGahee taking the 3rd-down and goal-line carries. If McGahee proves he is healthy and willing, however, I could see him stealing the starting job from Moreno.  

Bad: Not Signing Deangelo Williams

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    Willis McGahee is still a very strong and much needed addition to the Denver running game, yet I don't think they tried hard enough to acquire free agent Deangelo Williams, who re-signed with the Carolina Panthers

    Maybe Williams really just wanted to stay in Carolina, but I think the Broncos should have put a big offer on the table.

    Williams is very familiar with Broncos head coach John Fox, who was previously the head coach in Carolina, and is one of the most powerful runners in the league when he stays healthy. 

Good: Signing Ty Warren

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    The biggest hole last year on the Denver defense was the defensive tackle position. Granted, the defense was terrible in general, but everyone knew going into this offseason that Denver would need to sign a legitimate DT to play alongside the good-but-not-stellar Kevin Vickerson. 

    Former Patriots DT/DE Ty Warren is definitely their man. Warren is a big boy (6'5", 300lbs.) and is very versatile. He can play in the 3-4 formation and can play effectively at the defensive end and defensive tackle positions. 

    Warren was a bit off last year, but I see him getting back to form on Denver this season.

Good & Bad: Giving Themselves Options

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    The Denver Broncos signed a lot of players this free agency period in positions where they need them, so they gave themselves a lot of options. 

    In addition to Ty Warren at DT, they acquired Brodrick Bunkley and Jeremy Jarmon. At tight end they signed Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario. At wide receiver, they traded aging Jabar Gaffney and signed David Anderson. Anderson will likely compete with Eric Decker, Matthew Willis and Britt Davis for the starting job alongside Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal. 

    Now, don't get me wrong, it's good to have options, but I think Denver signed too much quantity over quality. At the same time, it's never good to put all your cards in one player. I'm torn here. 

Bad: Not Trading Kyle Orton

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    This is the glaring flaw in the Denver Broncos' free agency this year. 

    It was made quite clear from the time the NFL lockout ended that Kyle Orton was one of, if not, the best quarterback on the market. Their should have been a few possible suitors for Orton: San Francisco, Seattle, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Miami. 

    To the Broncos defense, some of these just didn't work out. Cincinnati stubbornly didn't pursue a big-name QB, Tennessee went with veteran Matt Hasselbeck, San Francisco seems to be trying to lose, and Seattle put their money in other positions. 

    Miami, however, was very interested in Kyle Orton. I don't know the behind-the-scenes reasons as to why this trade didn't work out, but it was a definite mistake by both parties. 

    Now, Miami Dolphins fans are heckling poor Chad Henne with "we want Orton" chants, and all anyone can talk about when the Broncos discussion come up is who will start at quarterback and does Tebow have what it takes. 

    Denver created a distracting situation for themselves here. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd even called Orton's presence at training camp "awkward." Eek.